We have all heard it thousands of times before: “the I know a guy state,” “It’s the Rhode Island Way,” “If they could tax the air we breath, they would.” It’s been over 70 years of Democrat rule, and it’s getting worse, much worse. By all accounts Rhode Island should be a jewel of a state to live in — arable land, deep-water ports, and at the crossroads between two of the most profitable cities on the planet, New York and Boston — but we are not. You do not see many construction cranes anywhere, but what you do see is miles of empty storefronts everywhere. Take a trip down Post Road and see what I mean. This state is murdering small business and, with it, the American dream of independence and opportunity. We have a population that is shrinking, and our youth who can managed it are leaving in droves. Without youth we are a decaying carcass devoid of life.
What we do have in abundance though is taxation. I can’t tell you how many spreadsheets containing municipal spending just don’t make sense to anyone who could add. Pensions are killing this state, and with every union victory we slide quicker into the abyss. You have to admire them though, protecting their investments with attorneys, slick well-coiffed consultants, big ham-fisted men shouting and intimidating in town meetings anyone daring to question them, and let’s not forget the cash, bags of cash, to support those that play along. One must wonder why somebody in a certain town would spend $50,000 on a job that pays a mere $15,000 annually with some health benefits. Either they are super patriotic or something else is amiss. Where is the return on investment beyond civic pride?
One of the most significant problems in dealing with overly aggressive public sector unions is that we all know members. They are our friends, neighbors, and family members. Individually they are just like everyone else, with jobs and families. The issue comes to the forefront when you see many of these individuals with very expensive vehicles and homes priced well out of their base salary abilities to pay for. Believe me, I have heard all the rationalizations. My particular favorites are “they must have inherited it” or “they have a second job.” Seems to me there were a lot of rich departed uncles out there. In one instance, I actually heard a union member complain his property taxes were too high, and if his raise wasn’t approved, he might have to move. The house was valued over $700,000 in a fine neighborhood. Many of us are in the wrong profession if that’s the case.
Now here comes the unholy alliance between unions and progressives. If the unions were aggressive in dissuading public dissent, the progressives refined and perfected it. Legions of them with the ability to shut down public discourse not only in public forums but at your homes as well. “Handmaidens, anyone”? They have an entire system by which they demonize anyone willing to put up a fight. I ought to know; I have received hate mail, had the police called on me for a tweet, and articles claiming that I and others are the sole reason misogyny exists in the state… but that’s another story. That’s not discourse; that’s bullying. Ask my favorite state rep.
Progressives love offering things we can’t pay for, and seriously, they have clearly never, ever taken a finance course. Finance in its simplest form says you can’t put out more than you take in. Unions love progressives’ school of thought and embraced them with open arms. Go check out the state site on what they contributed ($$$!) and to whom. What happened to the days when folks could sit down and rationally come up with a solution that didn’t break the bank for generations? It seems that unions have lost the ability to remember that service doesn’t just mean servicing your members, but the community at large. We all have a sacred responsibility to preserve our state for generations, not for just the next three-year contract period.
And please don’t tell me its for the kids. That’s getting old. I’ve heard that one before. It’s time for change and honest government to return.